158 MAY/JUNE 2019 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN VINEYARD
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard in Dickerson has figured out which grapes work best in
this region. ;e hybrids the winemakers still plant
are blended smartly, and they have moved on from
the sweet wines that are so prevalent at Maryland
wineries. If they would only refurbish and upgrade
their small, dated tasting room, it would make for
a first-class visiting experience.
;e first vines at Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
were planted in 2004 and wines were first produced
two years later. I remember those early vintages as
thin and green, with the best wines the product
of purchased California fruit. ;e rich soil at the
base of Sugarloaf Mountain is a wonderful site for
grapes, and the wines have grown up. ;ey are not
going to fool you into believing you are sipping a
first-growth Bordeaux, but these are quality wines
and represent a good value overall.
Owner Emily Yang studied wine at the University of Adelaide in Australia and took over at
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard in 2014. Manolo
Gomez has been head winemaker since 2012.
HIGHLIGHTS: ;e oaked and unoaked chardonnays
are true to what chardonnay should be—bright
and full-bodied without a ton of malolactic fermentation, which saps the bright, tart flavors.
We also drank a reserve bottling of the vineyard’s 2013 chardonnay, which showed that these
wines can age nicely; it’s bursting with fruit and
has a soft mouthfeel. ;e whites, Penelope and
Siren, showed the best uses for the hybrid grapes.
Blended with several grapes to complement any
one grape’s features and help mask weaknesses,
they are lovely o;erings. Sugarloaf doesn’t o;er
a multitude of wines, and only three reds—a cab
franc and two Bordeaux-style blends; this allows
a focus on making quality wines as the vineyard
dictates. ;e cab franc was as good as any around,
with big peppery flavors and just enough tannins
to provide a firm backbone, and the EVOE! is a
clear winner, a full-bodied cab and petit verdot
blend with nice oak and soft tannins.
PRICES: Tastings are $10; bottles range from $19.95
FOOD: Cheese and crackers are available, and food
trucks are present on weekends starting in May.
EXTRAS: Live music on Saturdays and Sundays, April
18125 Comus Road, Dickerson; 301-605-0130;